I waffled back and forth between dinosaurs (because we call Chase our little pterodactyl thanks to his high-pitched baby squeals) or a “You Are My Sunshine” theme which hit close to my heart since that is the song I sing to Chase to settle him at night.
(For those who asked, I bought my romper off Amazon for $20! If you are tall like me – I’m 5’8’’ – I’d size up because it’s a bit short. It’s also available in a bunch of different colors and patterns. I also wore this Free People bralette underneath for a little more coverage in the chest area.)
There’s something about the moment I start singing “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray” that makes Chase’s whole body relax and my eyes fill with tears. It’s a song that means a lot to me when I think of Chase and I knew I had to go in that direction for his party.
My sister helped me settle on a color scheme – yellow and mint green – that felt playful, bright and happy and once we had party colors in mind, it was much easier to get the ball rolling and start with the party prep! In the weeks leading up to Chase’s birthday party, I spent a lot of time crafting, browsing Minted, Etsy, Amazon and Zulily and purchasing little odds and ends to add to the party décor. (I’ll try to link to most of our decorations throughout the post, but if I forget or overlook something that interests you, just let me know and I’ll report back!)
One decision I made very early on in the party planning process was to cater the party and oh my gosh it made everything 10,000 times less stressful. Our local Whole Foods was kind enough to provide all of the food for Chase’s party as well as his gorgeous smash cake and an assortment of mint green, yellow and white cupcakes that I topped with the cutest sunshine and mint green one-themed cupcake toppers I purchased from Etsy.
(I highly recommend Pleasant View Parties Etsy shop! I asked if they could customize mint green one-themed cupcake toppers to go along with the adorable sunshine cupcake toppers featured in their shop and they did a fantastic job. They are affordable and the turnaround time was also crazy fast!)
I had no idea that Whole Foods catered until my friend Brittany used them for her daughter’s second birthday party and the food was so fantastic! Everyone raved about the spread we had for Chase’s party and we went with finger-friendly fare, including an assortment of wraps, chicken satay skewers (the BEST!), a cheese tray that got absolutely demolished (the candied pecans were so addicting!), fresh fruit and veggies and the best tortilla chips in all the land paired with three different delicious dips.
I kept our table decorations simple and opted for a mini polka dot mint green table runner instead of a table cloth. I paired fresh sunflowers with baby’s breath in glass jars we already had and placed a small assortment next to a framed picture of me and Ryan with Chase on the beach that said “Our Little Sunshine.”
I placed mint polka dot wooden utensils I bought on Zulily in white and mint green mini buckets I found in Target’s dollar spot!
Though the food was a definite hit, Chase’s beautiful smash cake stole the show. We placed it on a mint green milk glass cake stand, topped it with a O-N-E burlap banner my mom and I made (inspired by Pinterest, of course) and loved the look (and taste) of it!
I worked with the sweetest woman in charge of Whole Foods’ bakery to come up with a vision for the cake and said I wanted something that looked natural and not too overdone. We went with a vanilla cake topped with buttercream frosting and adorable sunshines and mint green polka dots around the outside edges. I was absolutely thrilled with how the cake turned out! I also love the fact that Whole Foods colors their baked goods with natural foods (the green comes from spinach, the yellow from turmeric, etc.), so their beautifully colored frosting isn’t packed with creepy ingredients and artificial colors or flavors.
Ryan was in charge of stocking up on beer while I handled the pineapple mojito sangria and non-alcoholic drinks.
(I nabbed the above blank drink tags, two You Are My Sunshine prints and You Are My Sunshine stickers off Minted and they made sticking to our theme so easy! I added the stickers to cups, utensil tins, etc. to keep the theme alive throughout the party.)
One thing I didn’t realize until after the party is that Ryan and Ross thought it would be hilarious to pack the coolers and drink bins with good beer and some not-so-good beer as a sort of “beer roulette.” All the guys got a big kick out of this and we joked that we were apparently hosting a college tailgate… (Yes, we actually had a couple cans of Natty Light on hand at our son’s first birthday party. #Classy)
Since I have a giant sweet tooth, you know my favorite part of the party food was dessert! When Ryan and I first moved to North Carolina, we discovered the Nothing Bundt Cakes location in Birkdale Village and quickly became regulars. I knew I wanted to have an assortment of their unbelievably tasty mini bundtinis for everyone to enjoy and they were, without a doubt, the most talked-about food item we served at Chase’s party.
I ordered an assortment of flavors – double chocolate chip, red velvet, lemon and white chocolate raspberry – and we had to laugh when we saw some of our friends taking a couple to go on their way out. They’re hard to resist and you can’t have just one, that’s for sure!
Since birthdays require copious amounts of cake, we also had a large lemon bundt cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes on hand for the adults to enjoy – the same cake my mom and sister ordered for me at my baby shower – and it was just as fantastic as I remembered.
And now for the BEST part of the party… The people!
I cannot begin to express how much these women and their little ones mean to me. Without family in the area, I was nervous about finding a quality support network after Chase was born and feel incredibly lucky to have everyone in the above photo in my life. They are some of the most kind and thoughtful people I’ve ever met and going through motherhood with all of them has been an absolute joy. I don’t know what I’d do without their support, our almost-daily playdates and the wonderful connection that seems to come along with sharing the ups and downs of parenting.
Our guests began arriving to celebrate Chase’s first birthday at noon and we tried our best to clear out our family room and remove our coffee table to create a big space where babies could crawl around and play with a myriad of Chase’s toys that we had on hand.
Before the madness:
In the middle of the madness:
We also had a kiddie pool, water table and bubble station set up outside along with towels and sunscreen that The Honest Company kindly sent our way for the kids who preferred to splash around and enjoy the summer sun.
One thing I didn’t realize before having a baby is that one year old birthday parties don’t tend to last all that long! Babies get tired quickly and naptimes often dictate party duration, so by 4 p.m., almost everyone had already headed home and Chase was a solid hour into his afternoon nap. (The ability to put Chase down for a nap at our house during the party was a serious plus.)
The only regret I have regarding Chase’s party was that we ran out of time to do his smash cake when everyone was around. The babies were playing so well in our family room that I didn’t want to break up the fun to do his cake and by the time we would’ve been ready to sing Happy Birthday, Chase was more than ready for his nap.
“It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to!” Poor birthday boy!
I knew a cranky baby would not make for smash cake success and after my Aunt Laurie said, “You do what is right for your baby,” I knew she was right, so Chase waved goodbye to his party guests and spent the last hour of his party happily sleeping away in his crib. (We had him on display on his baby monitor so he was still part of the fun. Ha!)
Though all of Chase’s baby BFFs were gone by the time he awoke, our family was still around and so we made sure to strip Chase down and sing Happy Birthday to our favorite one-year-old before he dove into his sunshine smash cake.
I think it’s safe to say Chase LOVES cake.
He cracked all of us up when he had to tap out for a water break before diving back in…
Once we had the birthday boy all cleaned up and we shared some bites of his cake, we spent the rest of Chase’s birthday party celebration day opening gifts, reading books and playing with new toys before Chase crashed hard.
I hope Chase enjoyed his first birthday and felt all the love that was coming his way!
We had so much fun celebrating our favorite little boy.
Happy FIRST Birthday, Chase!
These pictures are SO beautiful! Chase with his cake is so dang cute and your romper is adorable!
My little girl turned 1 in June and we threw her a ‘birthday brunch’ because I knew she couldn’t handle an evening party and her nap time is right in the middle of the day! Planning events around feeding time/nap time/fussy time is tricky, right? LOL But a birthday brunch was perfect because it gave me the excuse to serve donuts.
I will have to google natty light….bot something that this Canadian has not heard of.
The sunscreen was a brilliant idea…will have to remember that for our outside wedding in Cape May NJ in April!
Love the kitchen…it’s gorgeous.
happy birthday a few days late!!
Catherine @ A Cup of Catherine says
Love the decorations and theme! And Chase looks so cute. The smash cake pictures are too much! I cannot believe he’s already one (or that my guy is almost two).
Hillary Jenkins says
I’m having a birthday on Satuday and was already planning on ordering Nothing Bundt Cakes bundlets for everyone. (Our wedding cake was the White Chocolate Rasberry 🙂 But now thanks to you I’m going to be ordering Whole Foods Catering! You don’t happen to have a discount code for partnering with them do you??
Ooh! I will reach out to ask!
I would love a discount code! I will cater my kids party in a few weeks!
I love the bday theme…so cute!!! Do you mind if I ask how you met all of your mom friends? I have a 15 month old and have only met a couple ppl with kiddos close in age. Any specific classes you’d recommend?
Hi Courtney! I am planning to do a blog post all about this but I met a lot of them through Gymboree, story time at the library and swim class!
Wow love this party theme! From the catering to the cake to the decorations.. Everything looked great!! I don’t have kids yet but when I do I will for sure be referring to this post! What did ur invitations look like?
Also just purchased that romper on Amazon !! 🙂
Katherine @ Katherine Lynn Fitness says
Your home is beautiful, and Chase is the absolute CUTEST. Congratulations!
oh my gosh everything about this post makes me so happy! love that you two share that special song and that you turned that into the theme for his first party, which looks like it was such a blast of a wild success. everything looks amazing. great job!
Emma Sapio says
What a sweet birthday party! Not only is ‘you are my sunshine’ such a unique theme, but you executed it fabulously. Wishing you another year of happiness and health 🙂
Thank you, Emma!! <3
Chase’s party looks AMAZING down to every detail and that picture of him with his hands in the air made me LOL. Also your kitchen is my dream!!!
That photo of Chase with the cake is adorable and so funny!
Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday says
I had no idea Whole Foods catered – I’ll have to keep that in mind 🙂 The party was gorgeous and looked so fun, Julie! Chase is one loved and happy little boy. So glad you have a wonderful support system!
What a cute party!!
Happy Birthday Chase!!
Awesome pictures. Can I ask how you went about meeting other moms in an area you were new(er) to?
Sarah B says
I’m on day 10 of Whole30 so I’m drooling over those Nothing Bundt cakes. There’s one near me too in SoCal.
Also, thanks for linking to the romper! I definitely just ordered it. I hope I look as cute in it as you do! You have a beautiful family. <3
What a beautiful party — you did a fantastic job! Happy birthday to baby Chase!
For the romoer, if you don’t mind my asking, what size did you get? I’m 5’7 and the medium was too short 🙁
I initially ordered a medium as well but it was definitely too short! I got a large and liked it a lot better!
Thank you so much! I just exchanged the Medium for a Large. I’m hoping it works for me like it did for you, because you look beautiful in it 🙂 Thanks again!
Such a beautiful party! I’m glad Chase loves cake. I feel the same way about it!
I just received my romper yesterday, and I love it, but am sending it back because I can’t bend over without my backside hanging out! It fits everywhere else, but I can’t see myself wearing it in public,and I can’t think of what to wear underneath to make it more wearable. May I ask, other than the bralette, did you wear any other special undergarments to make it work for you? Thanks!
I LOVE your blog. Never miss a post!
I didn’t but you could definitely wear a cami underneath… though that wouldn’t help if you found it too short. I’m so sorry it didn’t work out for you! I initially exchanged my first one for a larger size so it was a little longer and that helped!
I love that O-N-E burlap banner! Did you buy it like that or did you print the letters on?
I painted them on using stencils! 🙂
Desiree Houston says
Please have more babies, lol! The joy and adoration you have for your little sunshine is so refreshing, wonderful, and sweet to read about. Chase’s birthday looked perfect. Thanks for sharing.
too fun and too cute!!
gotta say, though, the best part of this post was the shout-out to Natty Light 😉
Oh my gosh, I can’t stop cracking up over the picture of Chase with his arms in the air. Too funny! I have a 6.5-month old so I’ve loved reading all your recaps throughout your pregnancy and Chase’s first year to give me some idea of what to expect. I hope you’ll keep them coming!
So adorable! What a fun party 🙂 Happy birthday to Chase!
Amanda Cherry says
Hey Julie, I was scrolling through this post and saw a familiar face, Casey and her little boy Hudson. Such a small world! She and her fiancé Shane are from Tallahassee, where I live. They are fun people. Love the theme for Chases party. I sing my son, who is just 1 month old “you are my sunshine” when I put him down for bed. So sweet.
No way! So fun!!
Thought you might appreciate this as a belated birthday gift for your boy and as a reminder of the party: https://www.amazon.com/You-Are-Sunshine-Jimmie-Davis/dp/0545075521/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1472001838&sr=8-4&keywords=you+are+my+sunshine
It’s the words to “you are my sunshine” but as a book! I got it for my nephew for this past Christmas : )
Where did you get all of your mint colored tableware and tissue pom decorations from? Doing a very similar theme party for my sons first birthday party!
I bought the utensils on Zulily and the poms from Amazon –> http://bit.ly/2cRETAw Happy Birthday to your son!!
Thanks so much for responding! What about the mint green paper cups? Absolutely love your blog 🙂
Such an adorable party! The food looks delicious! I Sam hosting a party soon and love the idea of Whole Foods catering! Did you order a specific pre-set menu or is it ala carte? I’d love to know the specifics and anything you would/wouldn’t recommend! Thanks Julie!!!!